Are film scanners any good?

Discussion in 'Scanners' started by John Doe, Sep 7, 2004.

  1. John Doe

    John Doe Guest


    I am considering buying a film SLR and a film scanner. The idea is to
    use the film scanner to avoid costs of printing shots. So I can scan
    and see the pics and then ask the lab to print only a few off each
    roll that I like. At this point, let me make it clear that dSLRs are
    WAY beyond my budget.

    But my concern is about scanning colour negatives (thats what most of
    us prosumers use, right?). I've read that scanning colour negatives
    requires scanners worth thousands of dollars due to the orange mask.
    Given that I can't afford thousands of dollars worth of scanner and
    will use the regular Konica/Kodak colour film, should I ditch the
    scanner path?

    And any reviews on the Epson Perfection 2580?


    John Doe, Sep 7, 2004
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  2. John Doe

    Colin D Guest

    All film scanners I know of have software that compensates for orange
    masks, and most allow for different film types to get optimum color
    balance direct from the scanner. The scanner removes the mask and
    inverts the image to a positive automatically. Of course, for best
    results you will probably have to tweak color balance, contrast,
    brightness, etc in a program like Photoshop or similar.

    A film scanner like an Acer/Benq Scanwit, Nikon LS2000, Minolta DImage,
    etc. that will give about 2,700 dpi is adequate for your intended
    purpose, and you wil probably pick one up on Ebay for around $200.

    But, having said that, your idea of using the scanner simply to select
    negs you want to print doesn't sound like a good idea. Scanners are
    slow, like about 45 seconds to a minute or so for each negative. A
    better idea would be to buy or make a light-box on which you can view
    your negs with a loupe, or magnifier. With practice you can read negs
    quite well, and a lot faster than a scanner.

    Maybe you could rethink your decision to go with a film camera and
    scanner combo. A used D30 on Ebay seems to be around $600 - $700, and
    would save you buying a scanner and an older camera. By the time you
    factor in film and processing costs over a year or two, there probably
    isn't much difference in going digital from the outset.

    Good luck in whatever you choose to do,

    Colin D.
    Colin D, Sep 7, 2004
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  3. John Doe

    Alan Browne Guest

    Assuming you're not posting this for the fun of it (and fungus
    and X700 posts come to mind...) all dedicated film scanners,
    regardless of price come with s/w that is fully aware of the
    orange mask and compensate for it. Some flatbeds used to scan
    film have had problems in this regard according to some. A basic
    Minolta, Nikon or Canon film scanner in the 300 - $500 range will
    do the job quite well.

    Google away and you will find a lot on the scanner in question.
    Google groups on comp.periphs.scanners would be of benefit too.

    Films such as Kodak Portra 160NC scan beautifully. Some films
    are harder to get the colour right.

    Alan Browne, Sep 7, 2004
  4. John Doe

    bmoag Guest

    The problem is than an inexpensive camera like the Canon can yield excellent
    results but you will not see them unless you have a reasonable quality
    scanner. For flatbeds you need to go up a notch or two on the Epson product
    ladder to get a flatbed scanner that does a reasonable job with negatives.
    Once you see how the process works you will be very unhappy if you do not
    have a half-way decent scanner.
    bmoag, Sep 7, 2004
  5. Film is best for printing, not scanning.
    Michael Scarpitti, Sep 7, 2004
  6. John Doe

    Matt Clara Guest

    Still, his goal is, in essence, only to create a contact sheet of images,
    where each image could be negative size or slightly larger. Tony Spadaro
    uses a flatbed for this purpose, as I recall. I can't recall the specifics,
    though, i.e., which scanner he uses.
    Matt Clara, Sep 7, 2004
  7. If you buy a slr and film scanner new, your price will not be very different
    from buying a dslr. For used equippemnt, you will get more high end devices
    compared to dslr.
    you're right, film scanner mostly can handle the orange mask, but this is
    done by the software, not hardware. Using any other kind of scanner (e.g.
    vuescan) you can do the same with suitable software.
    There is no need to spent "thousands" of dollars:) good scanners are
    availbale for less than 1500 US$
    you can use regular negative films. Sometimes b/w films are not easy to
    scan, some scanners have problems with b/w negative film.
    Also you can consider to use slide film, which I prefere an scan nearly
    without any problems sind more than two years.
    in general, flatbed scanners are not recommended for creating scans to be
    printed, native film scanners are better for this job.

    Wolfgang Exler, Sep 12, 2004
  8. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    Minolta Maxxum 5 + 50mm f/1.7 + 28-80mm lens = $300
    Epson 2580 film scanner = $150
    Total = $450.

    Cheapest dSLR, Canon 300D (Body only) = $899!!

    Did I miss something? ;)


    John Doe, Sep 12, 2004
  9. John Doe

    Alan Browne Guest

    100 rolls of slide film/year, processing, US$1,200 or more...
    Alan Browne, Sep 12, 2004
  10. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    I will be using the regular 35mm film. Thats $2 a roll plus half a
    dollar for developing. For a 100 rolls, that is $250 a year. So
    equipment + cost of 100 rolls (including development) is $700 as
    against the not-so-perfect dSLR Canon 300D (Body only) is $899 :)
    John Doe, Sep 13, 2004
  11. John Doe

    Mark Roberts Guest

    Don't know what specific film you get for $2.00 per roll (anything at
    that price is going to be several steps below "regular" 35mm film
    quality) or what kind of developing you get for 50 cents but you have
    my sympathy...
    Mark Roberts, Sep 13, 2004
  12. John Doe

    Alan Browne Guest

    So after two years you're in the red. Anyway, your numbers are
    hardly realistic. Quality negative film that scans well (such as
    Portra 160NC) cannot be had for $2.00... $4.00 is more like it
    (and at that from B&H and similar)... not to mention the cost of
    prints... (Selecting negatives to scan w/o a print is not
    realistic and the index prints are too small).

    50 cts for development?

    "regular"? There's B&W neg, color neg, color slide, B&W slide
    and C-41 B&W. That's "regular".

    Alan Browne, Sep 13, 2004
  13. John Doe

    Bill Tuthill Guest

    With excellent digiminilabs such as the Agfa d-Lab.2 now available,
    you might be able to dispense with the scanner.

    At a nearby lab I got very good 3000x2000 scans from NPH for $8 a CD.
    Although that's only 19 rolls before it'd buy an Epson 2580 scanner,
    think of the convenience factor.
    Bill Tuthill, Sep 13, 2004
  14. yes. This scanner can not produce scans from negative/slide which can be
    compared to a dslr image

    Wolfgang Exler, Sep 20, 2004
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